When I was asked to be a Blog Partner (and offered free entry) for the Newport 10k in Jersey City this year, I looked at my schedule, saw that it fit perfectly into my summer plan of running shorter races and getting faster, I absolutely said YES! Since I did a full recap last year from packet pick up to the course map to finish, and none of those elements changed, if you want the full deets check last year’s review here.
Before you even get into it, I’ll give you the most important part…. I PR’d! I finished almost exactly one minute quicker than last year at this race (my only other 10k). I didn’t feel confident going in that I could run as well as I had last year, as I felt like my fitness was in a better place this time last year. As it turns out, I was freakin’ WRONG!
The morning was projected to be cloudy and 60. When I arrived in Jersey City, it was a bit windier and chillier than my house (and super foggy!), and I hadn’t thought to bring a throw away long sleeve, darn it. Mentally, 60 meant shorts and tank for me, did NOT think ahead to the whole “waiting around” part. Oh well. I grabbed my bib, took some super goofy pics, and then walked back to my car to camp out. PS – both getting to this race and parking are super easy, even though I’m usually pretty intimidated by races in “city” type areas, especially when I am racing alone. I was super early, so I chilled in my car for a good hour.
When it was time to get myself to the start area to hit the port-o-potties and get acclimated, I dug an old towel out of my car and wrapped it around my shoulders. Super sexy. But it worked. By the time I’d visited the port-o’s a few times (no lines!) and walked around a bit, I let go of my beautiful stole, but it had served its purpose.
AND, in the course of walking around getting warm before the race, I ran into a fellow Newport 10k blog partner, Jess from JessRunsHappy ! It was awesome to put an IRL face to a name in the blogosphere/insta-world. Jess also crushed a PR at the race on Saturday, so cheers to her!
I lined up at the start line between the 10 and 11 minute mile signs, and a few minutes after 8:30 we started. Honestly, my only real goal was to NOT have any 12 minute miles, a goal I had a feeling I could accomplish. However, my super-secret goal was to beat last year’s time (1:10), even though I was pretty unsure about being able to.
I took my first mile out a bit too fast. I was reminded of the same exact thought I had at last year’s 10k: I have no idea how to race a 10k! I have to work on figuring out how to pace myself, instead of going out as fast as a 5k, but not quite as slow as a half (as evidenced by my splits below). I was running purely off feel: I don’t like to look at my watch the first half of races.
By the 3rd mile, I knew I was running a bit faster than I’d be able to hold. I was a little bit uncomfortable, but not completely dying. One thing I did do was take water at each stop this year, after getting to mile 4ish last year and feeling incredibly parched. It was a smart move, I felt pretty good throughout. A little after mile 4, just as we turned to face the Freedom Tower and the skyline, the wind kicked up.
Those last 2 miles, man was that wind whipping! None the less, I actually felt okayish and kept on chugging along. After the final water stop just before mile 5, you hit the waterline and weave all along it until the finish. It is beautiful, which is a nice distraction from the fact that you’re in the last mile of the race and, if you’re like me, riding the pain train to try to not lose speed. Unlike last year, I did not complete lose my shit here! Check out my splits!
I definitely slowed down the second half, but that is okay. I met my A goal of beating last year’s time (by a minute!) as well as my B goal of having NO 12 minute miles. Not even close! Note: this course has a lot of turns, and I totally suck at tangents …. Hence the overage.
I am very happy with these results, overall. After the Debbie-Downer season I had training for my long race this spring, with so many runs slower than I knew I really could run, this race and last week’s 5k remind me that I can push my boundaries. I’m beginning to know what it is like to feel comfortably uncomfortable in a race, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I’m just not a competitive person, and I would always rather finish a race healthy than push myself so hard I feel terrible, so when I start to feel uncomfortable I generally slow down. Running, in general, fast or slow, is always hard for me – so the line between good pain (as in working my body hard but in a way it is capable of) and bad pain is something I’m not very familiar with. However, these last two races have taught me that uncomfortable within reason is okay.
TL;DR: PR’d by one minute! Fast course! Great weather! Happy Meesh!